HIBISCUS was an European funded scientific campaign devoted to study the chemical species involved in stratospheric ozone depletion at global-scale in the tropics.
As the compounds are transported vertically from surface level to the tropopause by deep convection, the main goal of the campaign was to study a number of dynamical, microphysical, radiative and chemical aspects of the Upper Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere (UT/LS) related to deep convection in the region.
It was part of the Tropical phase of the VINTERSOL effort so it's costs were supported by the European Commission and partners national research agencies as a shared project.
It was carried out from the balloon launch facilities of the Instituto de Pesquisas Meteorologicas (IPMET) of the Universidade Estadual de Sao Paulo in Brazil in 2004.
The campaign, however, started three years before, when was carried out a first technical campaign in 2001 and a series of balloon launches in 2003 englobed in the ENVISAT Pre-HIBISCUS campaign dedicated to the validation of ENVISAT satellite data and the testing of new instrumentation.
During both efforts were used open stratospheric balloons as well Infrared Montgolfier (MIR) balloons both provided and operated by the balloon group of the French Space Agency (CNES). The MIR balloons -a special kind developed by French scientists back in the 70's- were specially suited to perform circumglobal flights along the tropics.
The HIBISCUS campaign started in January 2004 and lasted until March during the southerm hemisphere summer.
The experimental approach, based on successful techniques developed for the Arctic European campaigns in the 90's, was to combine in situ measurements by a variety of instruments flown on small balloons for few hours in Brazil during the summer convective season and on MIR balloons for several weeks around the world in the tropics, with support of ground-based measurements in Brazil, simultaneous observations at La Réunion and state of the art transport, microphysical, radiative and chemical modelling.
In all 31 flights were made, including several long duration missions that circled the globe following the same latitude of Bauru.